January To-Do List
This is the perfect time to get organized for a successful year in webcomics.
Make a resolution and stick to it. It’s traditional to make a New Years Resolution, but if you make it now — and identify how you’re going to go bout achieiving it in the next 12 months, it can be a useful way to bring focus to you activities.
Tax prep: Half the battle is organization. I don’t care if you throw all of those receipts into a shoebox to sort out later, as long as you’re keeping them in the same place. Better yet, get some of those hanging folders and divide them into sections — conventions, travel, supplies, server costs, revenue from sales, etc.
Whiteboards: These things are amazingly useful to chart out your monthly plans, commitments and goals.
Wall-mount filing: I have a couple of file holders that I mount right to the wall by my computer. I use this for bills and for organizing projects with many details. That way, I can see at arm’s reach what needs to be done or double-check to ensure details have been covered. This has become a crucial part of my tracking my weekly schedule, conventions and bills.
Book flights: If you need to cover your own transportation to any conventions this year, now’s the time to start booking. Airlines will have different restrictions on how far in advance you can book, but the earlier you book, the cheaper you’re likely to fly.
Frequent Flyer: Speaking of flying, isn’t it time you started using all this travel to your advantage? If you’re not signed-up to get frequent flyer rewards, consider it. And — most importantly — keep those account numbers organized and handy. They count on you forgetting them! Remember this handy guide to airline luggage restrictions.
Bank account: If you don’t have a separate bank account for all webcomics-related money, start one now. Keep this money separate as much as you possibly can. If you need to use Comics money to pay for, say, the mortgage, transfer the money from the Comics account to your Personal account and then write the check. It will make your finances easier to track, and it’s just good business practice.
Plan your merchandise: Last year we talked about training readers to expect new marchadise every month. So, take a few minutes and plan out your merchandise schedule. Are you going to release a book this year? How about a T-shirt? Buttons? Are you going to make a push for selling original art? Plan these out on a calendar, and then plan the deadlines you have to hit to make these goals. Buy the end of the year, your goal should be to have at least two merchandise options for three price ranges: $1-10, $15-25, $30 and up.
Start a diary: Devote ten minutes before bed to simply recording what you did. Even if it’s mundane. If you have a good story from the day, write it down in as much detail as you’re able to. Every day. By April, you’ll be able to go back to the beginning of the year and start to pull out chunks of inspiration. Most of us have so much lost experiences that could be directed towards inspiring creativity. Think of it as recycling. Given the proper perspective, even seemingly mundane days could take on new meaning.